King of the Lake by Jennifer Anderson
Honey Creek Books
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Short Story (123 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Jasmine
Living in a small town, everybody knows your business. Unfortunately for Allison Carver, some people can’t forget.
When a lapse in good judgment lands her in the public eye, her parents force her to seek guidance from the local minister. After several months, she begins to forgive herself while her parents seem to keep her mistakes front and center.
Allison escapes to Honey Creek Lake where she gets a waitressing job at Honey Creek Lodge’s restaurant. Lack of identity among the summer tourists offers relief, allowing her to feel normal. Taking the order of a summer guest launches her into a dilemma. Does she follow her heart and allow her feelings to mature for a guy she just met? Or risk the wrath of her father while he sits on his throne overlooking the lake.
This book marks the end of one of my favorite series in this genre. The fictional town of Honey Creek is a typical, small, mid-western town that is placed not far from where I live. It reminds me so much of a town that I used to live in that I could easily picture everything – it was almost like I was still living there. I’ve become very attached to Honey Creek and its residents. Unfortunately, all small towns come with their own pros and cons. Everybody knowing everybody else can sometimes fall on both sides of that list and when you make a mistake, it can be hard to redeem yourself.
Allison Carver finds herself in just that situation. We met Allison at the end of Prince Charming, the second book in the series, at the precise moment that she was making that mistake. And the consequences of that mistake turn out to be more far reaching than she ever expected. Even though it happens a couple of hours away, the entire town finds out about it, as do her parents. After a few months of bullying and ridicule at school, Allison isolates herself from everyone, including her best friend. Trying to win back the trust of her parents, she starts counseling with their church Reverend. Through these sessions, we see a lot of personal growth from Allison. She is emerging from the scandal a little bit stronger than she was before.
Allison also gets a summer job waitressing at a lodge at the lake where everybody spends their summer. There she meets Evan, who is vacationing with his parents. There is an undeniable connection between the two of them, but getting to know Evan better, and spending time with him, goes against every rule her parents are trying to enforce these days. Evan has been dealing with his own issues too, and they understand each other in a way that nobody else does. The problem with small towns is that sneaking around, trying to do things without your parents finding out, can be nearly impossible.
Even though Allison has been a model teenager, and even though Evan seems to be a great kid, she has to convince her parents that they didn’t raise a delinquent and that they can trust her to make good decisions. As many people, both kids and adults, eventually learn (usually the hard way), once that trust is lost, it’s hard to get back. At the core, though, one lesson is the lesson that all parents need to learn to let kids make their own mistakes so they can learn from them….and that can be the hardest lesson of all sometimes.
I will miss visiting Honey Creek, with its small town people and small town ways – even the festivals that so many small towns are known for. It has been so nice to read a series so reminiscent of books that I read as a teenager, where sometimes the worst thing a teenager had to worry about was her reputation. It’s also nice to come across a series that focuses on small town worries versus savvy teenagers from the city. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Anderson gives us next.